Cebu News

In Tañon strait: Coral reefs still in “good” state - DENR-7

Kristine B. Quintas/FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 said coral reefs within Tañon Strait remain to be in “good to excellent condition” based on the initial assessment conducted by its Conservation and Development Division. 

Eddie Llamedo, DENR-7 spokesperson, said the first wave of survey, however, only covered 3,378 hectares out of the total 18,830 hectares of coral reefs within the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS).

Llamedo said a series of inventory and assessment was conducted to identify the present condition and composition of the flora and fauna in the coastal and under water habitats in the region.

 The assessment included the biophysical resources, mapping and delineation of coral reef boundaries and installation of marker buoys.

Llamedo noted that portions of the coral reefs particularly near the shoreline are in poor condition. He attributed the situation to human activities in the area.

He said that continuous human activities along crowded shorelines and marine-based pollution are some of the causes in the degradation of the coral reefs.

 Other threats to coral reefs include overfishing, unsustainable development in coastal areas and sedimentation. Of these, the largest threat come from overfishing, followed by destructive fishing practices, such as dynamite fishing and trawling.

 Llamedo said the government has allotted P1 billion each for National Coral Reef Restoration Program, and Solid Waste Management nationwide. The P2 billion budget was sourced out from DENR’s National Greening Program.

Of the amount, Central Visayas is getting around P30 million for the protection and rehabilitation of marine protected areas.

This year, DENR targets to assess another 4,000 hectares of coral reef coves within TSPS, one of the 10 richest fishing grounds in the country.

Tañon Strait is a narrow body of water between the islands of Cebu and Negros. It covers 521,018 hectares and borders 677 kilometers of coastline in three provinces.

 According to Oceana, an international marine conservation organization, Tañon Strait is known as the playground of cetaceans, with at least 14 species of whales and dolphins found in its waters. It also harbors a diverse range of marine habitats including 26 species of mangroves; and seven species of seagrass, according to various studies.

 It was declared a protected seascape by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1234 signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos on May 27, 1998 in recognition of its extraordinary abundance and diverse assemblage of dolphins, whales and other marine species.  (FREEMAN)



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